Saturday, June 13, 2009


Hear that constant roar of thunder? No, we're not getting more rain. That's the Republic of Texas Biker Rally that's going on over in Austin this weekend, better known as R.O.T. Good luck getting a table on the Inoz terrace this weekend!

On any given weekend, with halfway decent weather, you will see a steady stream of bikers rolling through town here. They love making the ride over Devil's Backbone, where the road drops away on either side of you, and the entire Wimberley valley is spread out around you. This, however, is a horse (or hog) of a different color. It's not a steady stream of bikers, it's a roaring flood. I even saw one biker go by, with his dog sitting up next to him in a sidecar, wearing goggles!

Think maybe I should get a matching set of those doo-rags for me and John? Not sure what we would use them for, other than gardening or taking our walks, but at least we'd be the coolest darn gardeners ever!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Boy, did we get a surprise last night. The weather forecast on my computer had been showing nothing but sunny skies and mid-nineties stretching out before us, but just as we were about ready for bed, it began to thunder like crazy. We threw open the doors and went out onto the porch to watch the show. The sky split open, and dumped more than a half inch of rain on us in a matter of minutes. We left the doors open when we crawled into bed, as the sound of rain is our very favorite lullaby. A few moments later I hopped back up and slammed them shut. The rain was blowing right across our eight-foot-wide porch, through the doors, and onto our wooden floors!

Not long ago I heard someone describe the weather here in the Hill Country as "persistent drought with intermittent flooding." Funny, but true! When we were getting those nice rains back in April, I occasionally said "but just you watch. It's sure to dry up the minute we finally get this tank installed!" More than one person replied "Nah, don't worry. This is going to be one of those summers where we get lots of rain." Apparently it has something to do with El Nino.

Uh oh. Good thing I have a well-stocked pantry. Last time we had one of those summers, my siblings and I almost went for an unanticipated river ride, and there were several days when you couldn't get in or out of this neighborhood. If only we could find that sense of balance I'm always yammering on about, with regard to the weather here!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I am a person who doesn't shop, doesn't read ads in the Sunday paper, and is totally unaffected by commercials on TV. I want to get rid of stuff, not cram any more into this already crowded space. The only inanimate objects to inspire lust in me during the last decade or two have been totally utilitarian in nature - such as compost bins and water catchment systems. Until now.

Around this time last year, the Muses and I went on an art studio tour over in Drippin', and one of the stops was at Solstice: Garden Expressions. That's where I was overcome by desire. The objects of my affection are Mark White's Dream Catcher series of kinetic wind sculptures. They are designed to encourage, facilitate and enhance meditation, but you know me - it's the colors that quiver my liver.

I had been meaning to take John by Solstice for over a year now, and today we finally made it. We also had lunch at a cafe called Rolling in Thyme & Dough, which reminded me of a couple of my favorite hippie restaurants from back in the 70's - The Hobbit Hole in Houston, and Mother's Cafe in Austin. T&D has the added bonus of being surrounded by a lovely plant nursery called Bloom. What a perfect outing we had!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Per your request, here is today's haul from The Bountiful Sprout. That's a made from scratch spinach and feta empanada there in front, spicy jalapeno tortillas in the middle, and whole wheat bread from Phoenix Rising in back. Now, what to do with it all?


Well, I screwed up. I missed a golden opportunity and let you guys down. Before I left for Houston, I had finally got into the habit of carrying my camera with me just about everywhere, since one never knows when one might happen upon something bloggable. But now I have become lax again, and I could kick myself for it!

John and I went for a walk last night after supper. There had been a lot of construction equipment parked in the field next to the little church house lately, and we were curious about what was going on. You know which house I am talking about, don't you? It's the one that actually was a little white country church originally. Our neighbor Terri had it hauled here from somewhere else, and completely renovated it. It's the one we look down upon from our perch up here.

Anyway, just as we were walking by, a man came out of the house carrying his trash bags. He called out when he saw us, and came over to introduce himself. Turns out he's Terri's new husband Randy, whom she met when he was helping her with the renovations. After completing the church, they built another precious little house right behind it, which matched its architecture perfectly. Now they have purchased the property next door, which held an old ranch-style that was doomed for tear-down. They are actually living in it now, as they completely transform it, and renting the first two out to guests! They've also launched a business together - Chapel Builders Group: Commercial/Residential Building & Restoration.

When John mentioned to Randy that we hoped to convert our garage into a bunkhouse for the grandkids some day, he insisted on taking us inside while he got one of his business cards for us, and gave us the grand tour. So, like I said, I've let you down. If only I'd had my camera at the ready, I'd be showing you photos right now of the absolutely gorgeous interior. The renovation is perfect - just what I would have hoped for. They used salvaged materials wherever they could (the TV now sits on the original pulpit), making it elegant yet casual, a true "sanctuary" in every sense of the word.

Hmm... Wonder if there is a rental website somewhere, with pictures? Eureka! Check out this and this.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Guess what we're doing right now?

Loading up the car.

Guess where we're going?


Sunday, June 7, 2009


Regarding the subject of balancing family and career: I would never, ever presume to tell you what to do. You must find your own path. All I can do is give you some ideas to think about, and say "this is what worked for us."

Anna Quindlen once wrote something to the order of "Yes, you probably can have it all - just not all at the same time." She went on to explain that kids grow up in the blink of an eye, and most of us live very long lives these days. Even if you were to set your career aside for fifteen or so years, you could still have thirty or more years ahead of you in which to pick it back up, rebuild it, or try your hand at something completely different. Since I am lousy at multi-tasking, but knew I would live to regret going down only one path or the other, I have chosen to look at my life in terms of seasons.

My original plan, mapped out in some long ago diary, was to work as a fashion merchandiser or buyer as soon as I got out of college, have two kids by the time I was thirty, and return to work a short time later. Of course, we all know what happens to the best laid plans! Mine went awry within two weeks of arriving at UT, when I met and fell in love with a senior whose career as an engineer would take him from Bahrain to Borneo. Not much call for fashion merchandisers there! Nevertheless, I hitched my caboose to his engine as soon as I graduated, following wherever he lead me. This became our season of exploration - our chance to discover the world and what it meant to be a couple. It was truly a magical season.

By the time we had returned to the States, we were ready to explore the world of parenthood, so I took a "short-term" job managing a clothing store. Four years, three miscarriages, and a couple of surgeries later, we finally had our first child, and not too long after, our second. After all that we went through in order to get them, there was just no way I was going to let someone else have all the fun of watching them grow up, so I put career plans aside, and entered the season of enjoying my babies to the fullest, not worrying too much if the house was a wreck, and having the time of my life.

When the kids entered school I still wasn't ready to return to work full-time. Instead I found interesting part-time work that stretched my brain a bit and fed my creative urges, while allowing me plenty of time to become involved in their school and extracurricular activites, though still not enough to keep the house as clean as I would have liked, and we continued to have the time of our lives.

Next thing I knew, they were already in high school and junior high! By then I had discovered a passion for gardening, so I went back to school to study horticulture, got a part-time job with a landscaper, continued to be involved in the kid's various activities, finally got smart and hired a cleaning service, and enjoyed every minute of watching my babies turn into adults. My daughter and I graduated the same week. She went off to college, and the rest of us moved to Houston, where I finally landed the job of my dreams, complete with buying trips to Dallas and Atlanta - only this time, I was merchandising plants and garden gifts, not fashion!

Now, a new season has begun, and in all liklihood, I still have another twenty-five or thirty years in which to have another career, travel, enjoy grandkids and learn new skills. I plan to savor every minute of it. It's true that I have ended up a jack-of-all-trades, master of none, but at least I don't have to fret over what I have missed, and I was able to concentrate fully on each season, as it unfolded. I've had it all - more, in fact, than my youthful self ever dreamed possible.